book reviews

Two Stories of Survival

I like reading how ordinary people survive the impossible. Here are two that I read, one from long ago, another from present day:

  1. Paleolithic–an ancient warlike tribe uses advanced technology to take over tribes around them–but does it really work?
  2. Northern Survival–how to survive subzero weather with no warmth, food, water, protection, shelter, or anything else
–a note about my reviews: I only review books I enjoyed. I need to be inspired to write. That’s why so many of my reviews are 4/5 or 5/5


by S.A. Adams


Sira and her paleolithic tribe’s way of life is under siege from the predatory and violent Red Feathers. This powerful enemy wants to enslave local tribes for the simple purpose of conquering others. While Sira and her tribes may be stronger, they don’t possess the advanced technology in weapons and offense that their enemy does. When they are attacked, many die. Those that manage to escape end up in different places, many forced to join other tribes just to survive but no matter where Sira’s tribe members end up, they wish for a way to return life to what it was.

How Sira goes about trying to save her tribe–by creating alliances, biding her time, strategizing–makes for a fascinating story filled with authentic atmosphere, culture, and beliefs of these ancient times. It’s clear that even in this time, man understood the power of their brain in solving problems:

“There were a great many things to be afraid of in this world, but none were more powerful than the fear of the unknown.

“No creature in the world was a match for people when they worked together…”

“…the Eagle tribe had discovered the efficiency of creating a specialized workforce. While in his tribe, everyone pretty much had to be adept at all survival skills, the Eagle people became specialized in one task, perfecting and becoming efficient at it.”

“He had come up with slightly curved wooden atlatl shaft instead of a straight one.”

Recommended for those who love prehistoric fiction or a fast-moving action-packed tale.

Sequel please.

Northern Survival

by Diane McGyver


In Northern Survival (Quarter Castle Publishing 2020), two strangers–Olive, a writer researching an upcoming book and and Johnathan, a movie star–are returning to civilization aboard a small plane when a large bird slams into the windshield and crashes the plane. Everyone is killed except Olive and Johnathan and they are stranded in the middle of the frozen Canadian forests. Conventional wisdom says to stay with the plane but nearby hungry wolves convince them they must leave. They have little food, minimal shelter, and no weapons, and both think they know the right way to hike out of the desolate wilderness. That’s their first disagreement but by no means their last.

“I can do this.” “I know you can, but you can’t do it like I can because you’re a pampered city boy with no damn experience.” “Fuck off.”

Olive has some survival skills while Johnathan has none so she wins. Still, it is a daunting task that leaves them often weak, hungry, thirsty, cold, and frightened. As a reader, I’m left thinking it is only because of Olive’s brutal honesty that they even have a chance:

“I don’t expect you to do what I do, but I expect you to tell me your limits so we don’t exceed them and cause unnecessary injuries, which ultimately will slow us down or…”

A good read with lots of how-to information if you ever find yourself stranded in below-zero weather with nothing but trees around you.

More prehistoric fiction books

Love Prehistoric Fiction? Here are two not to miss

2 More Prehistoric Fiction I Loved

Prehistoric Fiction Authors: Great Books For You

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Fall/Winter 2021. 


51 thoughts on “Two Stories of Survival

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  3. Hi Jacqui – Sam Adam’s book has some authority … he seems to revel in paleolithic life … while – no thanks I’ll avoid the Canadian winter! Take care – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. Thank you, Jacqui, for the kind words for “Northern Survival”. I loved writing the story, and I’m pleased others are enjoying it. I grew up surrounded by woods and doing many of the things Olive does. While I feel comfortable hiking through the wilderness and sleeping in a tent, travelling in cities is unnerving. Last year, I used an elevator for the first time in a long time. My senses were on full alert. I went on the subway in Montreal many years ago (my first and only time), and it was both scary and fascinating. So while I’d survive nights in the woods, nights on a city street might do me in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s interesting, fodder for another fascinating character I suspect. I so enjoy this book. I’m an armchair survivalist (emphasis on ‘armchair’) and really enjoy seeing how its done. Thanks for such an entertaining book!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Your folks do need a sequel. I’m currently working on the last two books in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy (1.8 mya). Thanks for your kind words about Survival of the Fittest!

      If you’d ever like to guest post, about your writing, your interest in prehistoric fiction, let me know.


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